Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field

Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field

by Ginger Wadsworth

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How can dogs that sniff for excrement, urine, vomit, and mucus help protect animals from extinction?

In the race to save endangered animals, finding solutions now is critical. Scat-detection dogs like Wicket, Tucker, and Orbee are conservation heroes and pioneers in a cutting-edge field of science. Canine detectives use their super sense of smell to locate the scat of target animals. From loose bear dung to gooey whale poop, scat can tell scientists valuable information about an animal’s sex, age, diet, and health—all without harming the animal or endangering the researcher.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781607347675
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 80
File size: 32 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Ginger Wadsworth is the author of more than twenty books, including Words West: Voices of Young Pioneers and First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low (Clarion). She lives in Orinda, California.

Read an Excerpt

As a puppy Freddie had so much energy that his owner couldn’t handle him. Even with a daily run, Freddie managed to chew slippers, destroy a sofa, and nudge open kitchen cabinets and scatter the contents all over the apartment while his owner was at work.
            Freddie, a border-collie mix whose ancestors loved nothing more than to run full-speed around a flock of sheep and herd them into a pen, was miserable in a tiny apartment. His sad yet desperate owner turned him in to the local animal shelter with a suggestion. Maybe someone who owned a ranch could adopt and love the wiry dog with the chocolate-brown eyes.
            For days Freddie paced in his pen, wearing down his toenails and losing weight. Family after family toured the shelter in search of the right dog or cat. No one wanted Freddie. Shelter employees feared he would have to be put to sleep.
            One morning a dog trainer walked into the shelter. She worked in the field with wildlife biologists and their canine assistants. One of her dogs was retiring, and the trainer was looking for a replacement. The perfect dog for the job would have to:
            -Follow orders
            -Be tough, energetic, and adventurous
            -Find things that are nearly impossible to see
            -Ride in a crate in the back of a truck
            -Run long distances
            -Be a fast learner
            -Be obsessed with toys
            The trainer visited many local shelters looking for the right dog. She knew the statistics. Less than 1 percent of all dogs qualify to become a detection canine.
            She strolled up and down the rows of dog pens. While casually studying each dog, she bounced a yellow tennis ball. Dogs barked and bayed, pawed the wire cages, and whined for a friendly hand and a pat. Only one dog followed the tennis ball, his eyes never straying from the yellow orb. Every bit of Freddie’s body tensed. He wanted that ball more than anything! And that was exactly what the trainer was looking for—a dog with the drive to work relentlessly for a special reward, like the tennis ball.
            That day Freddie left the dog shelter with the dog trainer. He pranced to her pickup, carrying the tennis ball in his mouth. Freddie had been rescued from certain death, and now he had a chance to begin a new life. He was about tostart an intense training program. If successful, he would join an elite group of dogs that travel the world sniffing for wildlife scat, urine, horns, and hair—and sometimes the animals themselves.
            Freddie had a chance to make a career change, as trainers sometimes call it. He wasn’t a good pet. Would he succeed at his new job?

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